Yesterday was one of those days that began with a meeting at 9 AM and the pace didn’t cease until around 9 PM. You probably know the kind of day–where you go from one meeting to the next, one event to another, finding yourself with different people throughout. You do your best to be present in the moment, though feel you can’t miss the next thing.
When my mind admittedly wandered (I have one of those overly active minds that is hard to stop at times!) it was to the next thing. The inner dialogue went like, “Get through today, then you need to write your sermon tomorrow. What are you supposed to preach on? Advent 2. John the Baptist. Peace.” And that’s where my wandering stopped for a second. Peace? In a season when I am running around like a crazy person? On a week where it seems like our world is imploding and I’m thinking about and praying for people I know in Jerusalem? Peace?
Well, yes. Peace even and perhaps especially when it seems like our lives are crazed and the world is imploding. Jesus reminds us in the Gospel of John, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” (John 14:27) Those words are not some trite and obvious saying. Jesus promised us peace during a time of war and turmoil. Jesus reminded us to not be afraid. Jesus contrasted his Way with what we may look around and see day by day. We can be reminded of this deep and abiding truth especially on the crazed days. Perhaps we focus on what we can do. For if there is to be true peace, it can begin with us.
Years ago, a friend who is a Unitarian Universalist Minister shared the following quote with me from the Chinese Philosopher Lao Tzu. It was another reminder that peace has to begin within, and I commend it to you on a week like this.
If there is to be peace in the world,
There must be peace in the nations.
If there is to be peace in the nations,
There must be peace in the cities.
If there is to be peace in the cities,
There must be peace between neighbors.
If there is to be peace between neighbors,
There must be peace in the home.
If there is to be peace in the home,
There must be peace in the heart.
(This Week’s Thoughts 12.7.17)